NYC Happenings


NYC Happenings: Paul’s on Time Square
Paul Nicaj and Dino Redzic know hospitality like the back of their hands and they proved just how well they know it at the grand opening party for their new restaurant “Paul’s on Time Square.” The two industry giants held a warm and welcoming event at the Hilton Garden on 42nd Street last Wednesday to celebrate their newest project, and the hotel’s featured restaurant, described as a destination for Italian fare with a global touch. FullSizeRender(2)

The party kicked off several stories up in a cozy lounge with a fireplace, tables for both communal and private seating, and an outdoor terrace. Champagne and wine was poured and complimented the extravagant spread of Italian meats and cheeses as well as an assortment of fruits and nuts.FullSizeRender(3)
The main dish was a whole baked branzino, delicately cut and served to guests whom were eager to try. The hor dourves passed included mini caprese skewers, bruschetta bites, crab cakes, and margharita pizza slices. All seemed to enjoy the food, the atmosphere, and the company.

Drawing a crowd next to the main bar was New York City’s first “SmartTender,” a revolutionary automated bartending system. Guests, myself included, were instructed on how to try the new bar toy. The touchscreen displays the list of spirit options. By touching the screen to choose, the patron then selects a mixer such as cranberry juice, pineapple juice, Coca-Cola, etc. Next, the SmartTender prompts the guest to choose an additive if preferred. Those listed were seltzer, orange bitters and lime juice, to name a few. The final step in the process is the option of adding an additional shot of alcohol and then it’s time to pour. The SmartTender registers the guests’ choices and pours a proportionally correct beverage into a glass positioned below the machine’s dispenser. Viola! A cocktail made to your liking in 30 seconds.FullSizeRender(4)

With my new “smart” made drink in hand, I made my way through the crowd and came upon Paul and Dino’s private table where they sat with, whom I presumed to be, close friends and family. I sat at a table close by and glanced in their direction noticing the plates of meatballs, shrimp cocktail, and other dishes that filled the table. Everything looked delicious and I could not refrain myself from commenting on the spread that lay out in front of them.

My remark did not go unheard and was responded to by Paul and Dino offering me to indulge in the food before them. “Please, please, eat,” I heard either Paul or Dino exclaim, pushing the plates towards me. And although I was not entirely sure which of these gentlemen made this hospitable notion towards me, I was too pleasantly surprised by the gesture to care. To the guests and myself, the event was for Paul and Dino- to celebrate the opening of “Paul’s” and their success in the industry. Yet to Paul and Dino, as it became very clear to me then, the night was for their guests and their customers, and at any time, even at their own celebration, they would make sure to show great hospitality.FullSizeRender

Photo credit: Laurain Aydinian

NYC Happenings Maserati 2015 unveiling

Cool cars. Very cool cars. And let’s not forget to mention the motorcycles and helicopter. These were the main attractions at the Maserati 2015 unveiling party; arguably a dream come true to those with an interest in fast engines and even those without one. The Luxury Review event, presented by RAND Luxury, was an exclusive press and media gathering that showcased the latest in luxury products. The unveiling was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan on October 2 and although it featured some of the hottest new vehicles to hit the market, this event made sure not to draw the line there. Helicopter
Upon arrival members were welcomed with a glass of champagne, just a taste of the luxuries that were in store for them. WineA small stage was assembled with a red carpet and a Maserati backdrop where attendees lined up for the option of having their picture taken by a professional photographer. The venue opened to a large hall lined with invited vendors whom offered information and conversation on their luxury items; those of which included cigars, whiskey, Rolex, and gemstone jewelry. A new age, and seemingly futuristic, helicopter was positioned in the middle of the room and posed as both a surprise and a great conversation starter. In addition, motorcycles; like pieces of art, decorated the venue with their exotic looking models.
Meat&CheeseBetween visits to the vendor stations, guests sampled from a meat and cheese spread provided by Rana, of Rana Pastificio Cucina in Chelsea, and sipped wine from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, which offered tastings of red and white. Rana additionally catered a pasta station and distributed samples of their tortellini with pancetta as well as rigatoni in lobster sauce. Across the room several bars were set to serve additional beverages including sangria, margaritas, and specialty cocktails by Double Cross Vodka.
As guests had their fill of food and drink, the time then came to unveil the luxury goods. An announcement was made directing guests to the covered Maserati in the center of the floor. The crowd gathered in anticipation with cameras ready. After some words on the vehicle and an introduction of the 2015 model, the covering was lifted and the Maserati revealed. The engine was revved and proved to be quite the crowd pleaser. There were photo opportunities and people approached the car, some even having the chance to open the doors and explore the interior. The unveilings occurred within 15-minute intervals of each other with a white Lamborghini up next. The same procession occurred with the remaining luxury vehicles scheduled to be on display. Lambo
With each unveiling the crowd’s energy revved like the engines of the glamorous cars they were there to admire. Overall the evening went off without a hitch and RAND Luxury genuinely showed their members they know how to ride in style.

All photos by Laurain Aydinian

NYC Happenings:Holiday House NYC celebrates the best in interior design and holiday entertaining, while supporting the fight against Breast Cancer. The designer showhouse, kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a party on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at Roche Bobois, an interior design and contemporary furniture store.
The gathering was held at the stores Manhattan location. A red carpet laid out at the entrance brought attention to the party and welcomed guests luxuriously. Pink awareness ribbons were offered upon arrival and worn as additional signs of support. Conveniently located at opposite ends of the space were two bars serving complementary glasses of wine and champagne, in addition to a variety of soft drinks and water. A team of waitstaff moved through the crowd passing hor’ dourves to guests as they mingled and chatted over the lively music spun by the DJ.
The space was quite small to host the large group that attended and it was difficult to move through the crowd. This issue was soon overseen and ignored, however, considering the fantastic turnout of people whom came to support such a good cause.
The Holiday House NYC Opening Night Gala is set for Wednesday, November 19 at The Academy Mansion in New York City. The event is in partnership with Traditional Home and will celebrate interior design and designers including Lillian August, Hollingsworth, and Justin Shaulis; to name a few. Tickets and more information can be found on lg_52824095-9224-4ac1-b5da-2ec90aa613db

see photos from the 2nd annual Holiday House in the Hamptons here: click here

            Hamptons SUPER DAD….Last week I had an experience that I have to share with you, when I became Super Dad. I was on a line with 1000 teenagers. Literally. Let me explain how I arrived at that nightmare. On Friday, my youngest daughter, Allura and her two friends, Ana and Gabby were going to a concert in NYC. Something called HYPERGLOW. Say what???? I didn’t know what a Hyperglow was but Allura was excited beyond belief. Somehow, she had hoodwinked me into actually buying her ticket sometime ago. My more than frequent senior moment did not allow me to remember when I had actually bought the ticket but I knew I could use this generosity to my advantage sometime in the near future.


I am usually in the city during the week and Allura knows this. She was getting driven in by  her friend Gabby’s mom, Lorraine and somehow she assumed that they were running late. I got a call from Allura around 5pm and in her best TEENAGER FRANTIC ‘The World Is Ending’ voice pleads with me. “Dad, can you go to the concert and wait on the line for me, we’re running late.” Say whatttt????

So I replied in my best, ‘I’m not going to let her know I am rolling on the floor in laughter and disbelief’ voice say…. HECK NO!!!!! I’m not waiting on anybody’s line. ‘Aw Dad, Come on, PLEASEEEEEES!!!!” I stand my ground to the onslaught of pleads and empty promises. “No, I’m not going to wait on that line.’ Now before you cheer or call me a hero or a beast, I have to tell you it was a cold night. And I don’t wait on lines for anything anyway. Not Jet, Met or Knick’s tickets. I hear you snickering back there. Why would I wait on line for those tickets anyway, right? But I digress.

After the concert Vanessa and I were staying in the city anyway and during the time the girls were going to be occupied, Vanessa, Lorraine and I were going to have dinner and meet up with friends for some drinks. I decided to go to the city early and scout out where the concert was being held. Hyperglow, I found out, was this MAJOR concert that the kids like to attend because it showcases up and coming DJ’s. a major party ensues. OK, I have gone to a few of these in my life and I had already given Allura the Dad talk about what not to do and how to look for all the exits in case something happens, to avoid dangers, blah, blah, blah….. What can I say? She’s 14 and has to get her experiences in early before all the crap begins. I did my part.1560385_546797988769409_992134305_n

I drove up to 48th St. between 11th and 12th Avenue and saw the beginnings of a major line, snaking from the North-West corner of 48th St. around and up 11th Avenue. Oh, Oh. Allura may have been right that she and her friends were going to be in trouble. The line was forming fast. As I drove down 48th St., Lo and Behold I saw a parking spot. There is NEVER parking spots at this time of night. Now let me tell you; it was about 6:15 and parking begins at 7 but I kind of knew I was safe to park there without too much fear of a ticket or tow. Now if there was no parking, I could have gotten away scott free…..but nooooooo. There it was, ample room to park. As I got out of the car I glanced up to the sky and asked God…REALLY??????? This spot just had to be there, right? I knew the dye was cast. I was going to do it. I was going to be a KING SIZED SUCKER. I was going to try to wait on line.

I went up to one of the bouncers who really didn’t want to talk to me and asked him if I could wait on the line. Almost dismissively he looked at me giving me an ‘are you CRAZY’ look and said. The line isn’t here, as I looked at more than 100 insanely dressed and overly loud teenagers. ‘The OVERFLOW line is down the block.’ Oh, Oh. Did he say OVERFLOW?????? What the heck does that mean? Then I found out. Up 48th St., past the UPS entrance, there was some barricades set up and there were about a 100 more kids waiting on-line. Oh GREAT! As I made my way back to that line, I saw that it wasn’t that bad. It was close to the entrance to the concert and if I got on line, Allura and her friends would get in fairly quickly.

I asked another bouncer/security if I could hold a place in line, half of me hoping that he would say no. He said I could, so I took my place in line. There was a lot of security, all big men and no-nonsense. Some of the biggest humans I have ever seen. That made me happy. Security was pretty well-organized and well prepared for crowd control. It was 6:30 now.

The kids in front of me turned to look at me with that, ‘ are you kidding me look.’ I quickly told them ‘I’m not going in there, I’m holding a place for my daughter.’ I somehow felt the need to justify my being there to a teenage boy, who was taller than me, with acne on his face! I know I could take him in a tussle, if it lasted less than a minute, I knew I could. I don’t know why that thought crossed my mind but I felt defensive. My daughter was going to be around guys like this ALL NIGHT. I felt protective. The kid laughed and was really good-natured and said ‘ok, dude.’ DUDE! He went back to talking to his friends. The line started to form very quickly behind me. I had not called Allura to tell her I was on-line, just in case I wanted to bail out. Better to keep her in the dark. It was getting colder and I was not a happy camper. 6:45. Why am I on line with a bunch of POPULAR girls next to me. Every kid that walks by they know and it is an immediate eruption…“DUDE, you’re here, what’s up??? yadda, yadda, yadda.” Oh Boy!!! I called Allura to let her know I was on line for her and she screamed! ‘You’re the best, Dad’ was the nature of her  immediate response and I knew it to be true. As I basked in the glow of her love, the wind whipped up and I started to feel like I had made a bad decision.

The smartest thing I did was bring my Playstation Vita with me. I was able to play tennis and baseball to help me keep my sanity and my mind off the cold, cold wind. The girls next to me were talkative (well duh!) and I saw them past a inquisitive glance my way as if to ask, ‘what the heck are you doing here?’ I kept on playing. The funniest thing I overheard (and I heard some very funny things) was how teenagers use curse words. I started thinking… that curse has never been used in the form of a verb before but after considering it, I could see the usage. Teenagers curse every chance they get. It must be a status symbol or something, maybe a contest, who can curse the best, the most and without taking a breath! Too funny. I saw hook ups, cuddling but mostly I saw kids having fun. I didn’t see anyone drinking or smoking weed but I know it was abundant. I overheard the deals being made for distribution and how to get home safely. I heard girls critiquing what other girls were wearing or not wearing as they had on the skimpiest shorts I have ever seen in my life. And it was COLD!!!!! Ah, youth, you got to love them.

Finally, the girls that were right behind me couldn’t bear not to ask me why I was there. When they asked if I was holding the place for someone and I said my daughter….. DA, DA, DA DAHHH! I became an INSTANT celebrity. I transformed from grumpy, sketchy questionable grandpa to SUPER DAD!

“REALLY, you’re here in line for your daughter??? You are the SH-T!!!!”, I was told. I didn’t even mind that I was being referred to as a curse because it was a term of endearment. “My Dad would never do this” (maybe because he is sane). “Your daughter is the luckiest girl in the world” (I think I’m liking this now). “I want you to be my Dad” (don’t push your luck and be careful what you ask for, just ask Allura). The kids were really animated now and asked me where I was from. When I told them Sag Harbor, they really got excited because they were from Hampton Bays. We were neighbors and now they knew the depth of my ‘SACRIFICE.’ When I told them I work in the city and my sacrifice wasn’t so great, they looked at me like I was crazy for going to the city almost every day. Never-the-less, I was a full blown hero now. When I called Allura at 7pm for an update where she was at, she let me know that they were out of the Midtown Tunnel and coming up 12th Avenue and about 40th St. I knew my ordeal was about to come to an end but then the Hampton Bays girls asked whether Allura played any sports and when I told them she ran track and played field hockey, the girls screamed. These girls were on the field hockey team and maybe knew Allura. I asked them to talk to Allura on the phone and they commenced to tell her what a cool Dad I was. Street Cred! Laughing, they handed me back the phone and I could hear my daughter laughing hysterically. A miserable night had suddenly become a classic.

I saw my chance. I became Super Dad and I started talking to the girls and guys about the Do’s and Don’ts of hanging out at a concert (full parent mode but without the lecture overtone). They appeared to listen as I told them how to do things in moderation and safely. One girl said her father told her to never take anything synthetic. I told her that was a good start! They were all good sports to listen but I knew my presence had almost reached it’s expiration date. Quickly, I did what any self respecting Super Hero would do before he changed back into his secret identity, I took a selfie with the kids.kurt selfie

Allura really had a great time at Hyperglow and came back to us safely. I hope all the kids got home safely too. Especially the Hampton Bays girls. They were really great and fun to be around. It made me remember what I sometimes forget. This is the time of our kid’s lives and they must do the things they do. Fun is a key element to their growth and development, so is excess. In order for us to see the fun they should have it is important to step outside of what we normally would do and walk in their shoes. Maybe even, stand in line.

New York, NY…New York Street Life

Rush HeARTS Education
Valentine’s Day luncheon to benefit Rush’s Education Programs
Friday, February 14th, 2014
11:30am Reception
Noon to 2pm Luncheon & Program
The Plaza
Fifth Avenue at Central Park South
New York, NY 10019
Hosted By
Cynthia Nixon
Alek Wek
International Supermodel & UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador
The Amazing Rush Kids
A Special Guest Performance
Music By
 DJ M.O.S and DJ Kiss
Advance tickets $350 Individual, $700 per couple. Tables of ten $5,000 & up.
For Table/Sponsorship opportunities please contact Agent of Change 
To purchase tickets online please visit

Since 1995 Rush Philanthropic has worked tirelessly in support of its mission to provide underserved youth with invaluable arts education experiences. Today, our Rush Education Programs serve 2,900 public school children. Our programs are designed to inspire students, provide positive alternatives to high-risk behaviors, and support increased academic performance. Rush is proud of its success to date and looks toward a future in which our programs grow to encompass more children and artists, and we can continue to enhance access to arts institutions and arts experiences for minority and economically disadvantaged populations. The Rush HeARTS Education luncheon will allow us to grow our programs, making this bright future we envision a reality

Find the Perfect Valentine's Day Gift at